At WordCamp US, I spoke with Scott Wyden Kivowitz — the Community Wrangler for Imagely, the company behind NextGEN gallery — about their plans to created a hosted web service for photographers.
NextGEN has 1.3 million users according to Scott (which is inline with their number of active WordPress installs as well), and, “about fifty percent of those are photographers.” He says that they are trying to focus their efforts toward photographers directly with Imagely, rather than the broader WordPress world.
“So, we are basically creating a turnkey managed WordPress solution for photographers.” With the new brand and service, they are making NextGEN Gallery and NextGEN Pro tools available for download for self-hosted users, or users can choose the Imagely hosted option.
In addition to current NextGEN features, Imagely will also have proofing and prints built in, which is a fairly common feature amongst other hosted photography solutions. And they are working on a Lightroom to NextGEN plugin. They are aiming to compete with the likes of SmugMug and Zenfolio.
One differentiator they want to promote is that Imagely will be flexible for clients, so that they can go from the hosted Imagely experience to a self-hosted WordPress setup (using NextGEN) without losing everything. That’s a concept that I’ve loved for a while now — basically making it easy for your customers to quit you, as Evermore coined it.
They are still working on pricing internally, but they will have multiple tiers: themes, NextGEN+ or Pro (which includes eCommerce), themes + plugins combined, or the hosted Imagely option.
The Imagely site is just a landing page right now, but they are giving away 3 months for free for folks that sign up to their email list.